Restless Legs Syndrome

RLS can be experienced in varying degrees, from mild to severe. Here's what you should know.

By Ellen Michaud and #NONE#" Julie Bain from Sleep to Be Sexy Smart and Slim (Reader's Digest Association Books)

Restless legs syndrome is a condition that ranges from a creepy-crawly sensation that runs up and down your legs to quivers, jerks, pins and needles, numbness, pain, or a burning sensation. It affects millions of individuals every day, and their chief complaint is difficulty falling asleep — and staying asleep. That’s because that is when these sensations typically occur. And unfortunately, many people who have RLS also have trouble controlling sudden limb movements, which can occur every 20 to 30 seconds all night long — a major sleep disrupter.

Twenty percent of pregnant women also suffer from RLS. If you’re expecting, “delivery is the real remedy,” says Grace Pien, M.D., a sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology.

RLS can be experienced in varying degrees, from mild to severe. Here’s what to look for:

  • When you sit or lie down, do you have a strong desire to move your legs?
  • Does your desire to move your legs feel impossible to resist?
  • Have you ever used the words unpleasant, creepy crawly, creeping, itching, pulling, or tugging to describe your symptoms to others?
  • Does your desire to move often occur when you are resting or sitting still?
  • Does moving your legs make you feel better?
  • Do you complain of these symptoms more at night?
  • Do you keep your bed partner awake with the jerking movements of your legs?
  • Do you ever have involuntary leg movements while you are awake?
  • Are you tired or unable to concentrate during the day?

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